Motherhood and taking the helm of a very large corporate ship have delivered some surprises, but Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer told women execs recently that having good priorities has made her life both doable and happy.
Those priorities? God, family and work.
During an invite-only “Most Powerful Women” event sponsored by Fortune, Mayer said her new baby, Macallister, has been “easy” and her job has been “fun.”
As Today's Ben Popken put it: “It turns out the former Google executive, known for her planning skills and extensive use of spreadsheets to make major life decisions (and determine the perfect cupcake recipe), can still be surprised when it comes to both motherhood and corporate leadership.”
She told the mostly female audience that she knew leading Yahoo would be hard and the baby would be fun. She was surprised and pleased to find that the job is fun and the baby is easy.
Today aired the television exclusive, which Popken said could be her “last public interview for some time.”
Before Macallister was born, Mayer was the subject of a wide discussion on whether women can “have it all,” prompted by a piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic. Slaughter, the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, had found that at some point she had to choose between career advancement and what role she wanted in her family.
Mayer, 37, accepted the position of CEO at Yahoo while she was pregnant with the baby. And she received some criticism after his birth because she took very short leave when he was born.
Popken noted that when asked what she had to do to get everything done, Mayer replied, “You have to ruthlessly prioritize.
“And that's one of the reasons I haven't been talking and I will go back to not talking after tonight.”
As for those priorities, she quoted the legendary Green Bay Packers coach. “And you know Vince Lombardi says, in my life there are three things: God, family and the Green Bay Packers. For me, it's God, family and Yahoo, in that order.”
Not everyone believed the cheerful CEO's assertion that a new baby is easy. Wrote Bonnie Fuller of HollywoodLife.com, “Marissa — I think you're an amazing trooper, but I'm sorry, I don't believe you for one second when you say that 'the baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be.'
“When you just say that it's been easier than you expected, most working moms simply respond 'of course it is for her — she's worth a fortune, she can afford 24 hours, 7 days a week babysitters, a cook, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, personal shoppers, assistants at the office, etc.' — you get my drift.”
Working moms, Fuller said, know about being up all night with sick babies and then facing bosses who need work done. “Most working moms may love their careers and babies,” she wrote, but mostly they just feel EXHAUSTED and overwhelmed.”
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